Donald Trump and Angela Merkel discuss trade, Russia in phone call | News | DW | 27.03.2018
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Donald Trump and Angela Merkel discuss trade, Russia in phone call

Amid global tensions over tariffs, Angela Merkel has called for a "dialogue process" between the EU and the US on trade policy. Both leaders supported efforts to expel undeclared Russian intelligence officers.

US President Donald Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel spoke by phone Tuesday on a number of contentious issues, including trade policy, China, the Syrian conflict and North Korea. 

Read more: Opinion: Trump, tariffs and reality

The conversation comes in the wake of the US president's recent plans to implement a policy of tariffs on international commerce.

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The White House temporarily exempted the EU, along with six other nations, from its steel and aluminum tariffs. But the Trump Administration raised fears of a possible trade war with China, when he signed an order last week to target the Asian nation's exports to the US.

A day before Trump's call with Merkel, the US president took to Twitter again to explain his frustrations with the global trade system, saying that he was holding talks with countries that had "not treated the United States fairly."

Cooperation on trade

Trump and Merkel "discussed joining forces to counter China's unfair economic practices and illegal acquisition of intellectual property," the White House said in a statement. 

Read more: Protectionism: from Bismarck to Trump

German government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement that in the phone call, Merkel urged for "a dialogue process between the European Union and the United States on trade policy, taking into account the rules-based international trade system."

Merkel and Trump also discussed the situation in Syria and the current crisis with North Korea. Additionally, both countries reaffirmed their support for the UK in the aftermath of an assassination attempt on a Russian double agent on British soil.

Read more: Opinion: Against his own instincts, Trump does the right thing on Russia

The White House said both countries "praised the joint announcements from North Atlantic Treaty Organization Allies, European Union member states, and other partners to expel undeclared Russian intelligence officers in solidarity with the United Kingdom and in response to Russia's reckless use of chemical weapons." 

Donald Trump also spoke on the phone with French president Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday, where he also discussed "next steps" in dealing with China's "unfair trade practices," the White House said.

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jcg/bw (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)

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